This week's edition of the Hogs Haven round table had us discussing Leonard Hankerson. We looked to grade him on some of the more important aspects of being a Wide Receiver, such as route-running, hands, red-zone threat and just his overall performance/potential.
Kevin: It's a shame we didn't get to see more of Leonard Hankerson this season. I remember in training camp he had unbelievable hands along the sideline and in the redzone, but routinely struggled to catch balls over the middle. Is it a fear of getting popped? Perhaps. But the over-the-middle drops continued in pre-season and it took until week 8 for Hankerson to see action, which was accelerated with the injury to Santana Moss. Three of Hank's four games were with John Beck as QB, so how do we evaluate those games? The game that Grossman won his job back, vs Miami, Hankerson had 8 receptions for 106 yards showing off his Univ of Miami talent. The Redskins lack size and speed at WR, so hopefully Hank didn't lose any of that 4.43 combine speed with his hip injury.Route-running: Hank improved from pre-season, but the one game Hank shined was against the Dolphins, who have a 26th ranked passing defense.
Hands: A- on the sidelines, C- between the hashes. Hank has the hands to make spectacular one-handed grabs, so there's optimism here and he was taking hits routinely in that MIA game.Red-Zone: Hank was a stud in this department at the U and there's no reason he can't continue winning jump balls in the NFL. Hank is listed at 6'2.Overall: B. In my book, Hank has potential to be great but not elite. He surely can contribute at a high level, but his weaknesses over the middle are noticeable when compared to WRs like Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant. To Hank's defense, WRs usually don't put big numbers there rookie year, so how Hank handles this off-season will set him up for 2012. The work ethic is there. (Brandon Marshall had 309 yards in 15 games his rookie year, then exploded for 1325 yards and 7 TDs his next season).2012 Stat Predictions: This is a tough one since the Redskins will likely bring in a playmaker at WR to be the #1. Gaffney is signed through 2012, Moss has the slot, so Hank might not even be in the top 3 WRs. I still think he wins the starting job but gets hurt again. 35 receptions, 412 yards, 2 TDs.
Parks: Fans need to remember that Hankerson struggled and had just one good game. He's falling in the same category as Jarvis Jenkins as a growing legend in the Redskins' community without really doing much yet. We need the Hank versus Miami, not super-dropsies, inactive Hank. This offseason will define whether or not he's Malcolm Kelly, or a legit target for the Redskins.
2012 Stat Prediction: 25 catches, 350 yards, 3 TD's.
Tiller: Hank was my favorite draft pick of the 2011 draft. I was disappointed he didn't see the field earlier in the season, but I was excited when he finally did get his shot. He showed the ability to make the tough catches look easy, but sometimes made the easy ones look tough. Overall, I would have to say he was a bit of a disappointment for me; from not contributing early, to some of his drops and wrong routes, to finally be put on the IR with the hip injury.I do however see some tremendous upside. Hank gets in and out of breaks fast, is a fluent runner, and possesses the size that we need at the wide receiver spot. I expect him to claim a starting spot next season, and never look back.2012 Stat Prediction: 16 games started, 69 catches, 875 yards, 7 TD's.
Steveo: Maybe you could say I'm being generous to Hankerson given the limited sample size, but I think we saw some nice flashes in those San Francisco and Miami games. Sure there were some rookie mistakes, and it took Hankerson longer to get on the field. But when he was on there it was mostly a positive and he showed the potential to be a quality starting receiver in the NFL. He's got the best size/speed combination on this team and hopefully he can recover from his injury and be a good weapon in our passing game.I know there is some concern on how long it took him to get on the field, but plenty of wide receivers take a 1-3 years to become effective in the NFL, and those guys didn't ever have to deal with a lockout their rookie season. He's expected to make a full recovery so I don't think he should get points off due to the injury. Hankerson. My prediction for next season is over 60 catches and 800+ yards for Hankerson.2012 Stat Prediction: 65 receptions, 875 yards and 9 TD's
UkRedskin: Hankerson was the pick I was initially most excited about coming out of the draft. The Redskins have been in dire need of a go-to WR for years now. But after the Gaffney trade and some questionable pre-season performances, I think we all cooled on him for a while. He sparked to life in that Miami game after winning the number 1 job (even if it might have been through necessity). Hank has the ability to pull off some amazing catches and then drop simple ones. For me it looks like its just a lack of concentration. For the easy ones he may be thinking about trying to break the first tackle and get more yards rather than focus on catching the ball first. His route running was coming along, but like all rookies needs work. But I think where Hank will be key next year is in the red-zone. We saw it a couple of times (I vividly remember the 2-point extra play) where he ran a fade or a back-shoulder throw on the goal line. Having a receiver with the ability to do that will be huge for whoever is at QB next year, rookie or not.
2012 Stat Prediction: Something in the region of 60-70 receptions, 700 yards and 8 TD's would be a success in my book.
Ken: The reason why Hankerson will have a chance to be a factor next season is because of his much improved route running. He was making major strides there before his injury. He was also starting to really use his size to his advantage. I like the idea of this young, big receiver having a chance to get in on the ground floor with whatever quarterback we draft.
2012 Stat Prediction: 53 catches, 750 yds, 9 TD's.
Hogs Haven grade:
Red-Zone Threat: B+
(Thanks to Ken, Kevin, Parks, Tiller and Steveo for their contributions... even though your emails are a bit all over the place)